This week a tough tournament in the WTA-1000 category takes place in Guadalajara (Mexico). This is a completely new competition that is being held for only the second time. This “thousand” appeared on the official WTA calendar in 2022, due to the organization’s decision to take the tournaments away from China amid the Peng Shuai disappearance scandal. After the successful holding of the 2021 WTA Finals in Guadalajara, the organizers hoped to be given another great event. And their wishes were heard. Then Guadalajara replaced Wuhan on the calendar.
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In 2022, Jessica Pegula became champion of Guadalajara by beating María Sakkari in the final. A year ago, the tournament was held in October and the representatives of the top three in the WTA ranking, then Iga Swiatek, Ons Jabeur and Anett Kontaveit, did not come to Mexico. This time the early departure of the favorites turned out to be even more massive. Of the top 10 in the world ranking, only Jabeur and Sakkari, seventh and ninth rackets in the world, arrived in Guadalajara. They received the first two seeding numbers. And all the other leaders preferred to rest.
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Of the Russians, Veronika Kudermetova, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Anastasia Potapova, seeds 7th, 8th and 11th respectively, reached the main draw of the tournament. On the night of September 18-19 Moscow time, Kudermetova and Potapova entered the fight. Furthermore, if for Anastasia it was a first round match, Verónica started in the second round.
Kudermetova’s opponent turned out to be very interesting: 2014 Wimbledon finalist and former world number five Eugenie Bouchard. Recently, 29-year-old Bouchard, a very popular person on social networks (more than 2.4 million subscribers!), even thanks to the external data of him, does not spoil his fans with the results. The last time he reached the final of a WTA tournament was two and a half years ago, in Mexico, which is interesting. Well, the Nuremberg 2014 title remains the only one of her career.
However, outside of tennis, the beautiful Eugenia feels great. In the summer she worked as a presenter for the Canadian television channel Sportsnet. And already this month it was learned that starting in 2024 the Canadian athlete will play professional pickleball, a very special sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. However, Bouchard did not announce his retirement from tennis.
Eugenie Bouchard has found true happiness. You can only envy the beauty of tennis.
Having received a wild card for the Guadalajara tournament, Bouchard defeated the little-known Mexican Renata Zarazua (6-1, 7-6) in the first round, who is ranked 181st in the world rankings. And in the second round she finished with Kudermetova, who was going through a decline in her career. Until recently, the Russian was in the top 10 of the WTA rankings, but now she is only ranked 19th.
Before the US Open, Kudermetova’s team was joined by the famous Russian specialist Dmitry Tursunov, who had previously worked, in particular, with tennis players such as Emma Raducanu and Belinda Bencic, and more recently with Alexandrova. But at the US Open, Veronica lost in the first round; it was difficult to expect that cooperation would immediately begin to bear fruit.
Dmitry Tursunov joined Veronica Kudermetova’s coaching staff
Previously, Kudermetova played Bouchard twice and both matches were won by the Canadian. On both occasions the Russian lost in two sets, and with the shuttlecock: in the quarterfinals of Gstaad 2018 and in the first round of Prague 2020. In the informative meeting, Verónica managed to reverse the trend. Kudermetova started the match with 0:40 on her serve, but she played with a triple break point plus another, after which she made a break and led 2:0. The Russian improved her serve, she gained more confidence in her rallies and in the eighth game she took advantage of the second set point on the reception by 6:2. In the second game, Veronica began to make more mistakes and Bouchard, on the contrary, improved. Kudermetova had to recover the break twice and the Canadian, at 5:4, could not take the set in her favor. But in the tiebreaker Eugenia was more precise: 7:4.
Veronika Kudermetova plays at the WTA-1000 tournament in Cincinnati
Photo: Aaron Doster/Getty Images
And yet, the third set, and with it the match, remained in Kudermetova’s hands. The Russian played with confidence on his serve in the first games, but Bouchard had big problems. In the first game, the Canadian saved four break points, and in the third, Veronica took the opponent’s serve from her on the fourth attempt, after which she took the game 3:1. Before this match, Eugenia had problems with her left knee, which was bandaged. Despite this, Bouchard managed to even the score (3-3), but Kudermetova’s break in the seventh game was decisive. With the score 5:4, Veronica confidently served for the match: 6:2, 6:7 (4:7), 6:4 in 2 hours 49 minutes.
Thus Kudermetova was able to break a series of three defeats. In Cleveland she lost to Sara Sorribes-Tormo, in the US Open to Bernarda Pere, in San Diego to Sofia Kenin. In the third round in Guadalajara, Verónica will play against two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka (10) or Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska.
As for Potapova, her rival in the first round was the Ecuadorian Emiliana Arango, 22 years old and number 180 in the world. The Russian caused a sensation with a minus sign, after being defeated by a little-known tennis player. At the beginning of the match, the rivals exchanged breaks, and in the fifth game, Arango once again took away the other’s serve. After that, Anastasia didn’t get close to break points (even though she herself could lose her game) and Emiliana won the set 6:4.
In the second game, the scenario was repeated: a quick exchange of breaks and another break in Arango’s fifth game. In this set, Potapova resisted a little more: both before and after he had break points. But she didn’t use them. And Arango, with 5: 3, converted the first match point in the reception in her favor: 6: 4, 6: 3 in 1 hour 47 minutes.
In the second round, Arango will play against the 2017 US Open champion, Sloane Stephens, who in the first round beat her compatriot Ann Lee (Q) 7:5, 6:4.
Alexandrova will play her second round match on Tuesday, September 19. Her rival will be the Polish Magdalena French, who defeated the Colombian María Camila Osorio-Serrano (6-1, 6-2). Follow all the events of the “Championship”.